Trading competition tests real-world financial skills

Learning an industry-standard technology while an undergrad is a can’t-miss opportunity. Several Oglethorpe business students have been given the chance to try out a piece of financial software while competing against students from around the country.

“The Bloomberg Trading Challenge has been an exciting learning experience for our Oglethorpe University team,” said Lecturer of Accounting Robert Burchfield.

It was in Burchfield’s fall Investments course that students expressed interest in learning more about markets and honing their skills. When BTC registration opened up in January, Burchfield found six Petrels to form a team that would compete over eight weeks to generate the strongest investment strategy and most valuable portfolio using a notional amount.

The challenge was designed to help students develop their skills in financial data analytics and view the market through the Bloomberg Terminal, the software used by portfolio managers, investment analysts, traders and dozens of other financial professions.

“The experience of working on a Bloomberg terminal is second to none. Hopefully, this experience will give me a leg up on the competition when entering the job market.” – Will Keegan ’18

“The biggest beneficial gain for the participants in [the BTC] is that they got tremendous amount of exposure to the Terminal,” said Paras Doshi of Bloomberg Core Terminal Sales. “Students who were learning [financial analysis] in an academic fashion were able to bring that content to context in terms of how it’s applied in the real world.”

Burchfield adds, “They are learning how to develop and apply an investment strategy while practicing teamwork and gaining experience with the extensive functionality of the Bloomberg database.”

Access to the Terminal and Bloomberg Professional Services is rare outside of a professional environment. Bloomberg deployed a representative to campus before the competition began to walk participants through the operating system and use cases. Since the introduction, the student team has been meeting several times a week in a designated “war room” in Lupton Hall where they review their investment strategy and use an onsite Terminal.

“I’ve always been interested in economics and finance so I figured it would be an excellent way to continue my finance education outside of the classroom,” said Will Keegan ’18. “The experience of working on a Bloomberg terminal is second to none. Hopefully, this experience will give me a leg up on the competition when entering the job market.”

And even though the competition may be happening in a simulated environment, real-life problems still affect the results. “We were hit with a market correction just a day after we invested 75% of our allotted money,” Keegan noted. “Timing has been the most difficult challenge so far.”

BTC concludes in April with winning teams to be announced shortly after. The full Oglethorpe team consists of:

  • Madisyn Foltz
  • Stephen Johnson
  • William “Will” Keegan
  • Jezziah “Jay” Millin
  • Sebastian Tamayo
  • Caleb Green (Ex-Officio)
Bloomberg Team

Pictured: Dr. Lynn Guhde, Mack A. Rickard Professor of Economics & Business Administration (Division Chair), Will Keegan, Stephen Johnson, Sebastian Tamayo, Madisyn Foltz, Dr. Bob Burchfield, President Larry Schall

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